Suez employees demonstrate in La Défense, in front of their company's headquarters, against Veolia's offer, September 8, 2020. -
If the operation is done, it will be a forced marriage.
Engaged in a standoff against the “very hostile” buyout plan of Veolia, the president of Suez Philippe Varin warns Sunday against a risk of social plan if his rival achieves his goals.
Veolia, the world leader in water and waste treatment, has announced that it wants to buy out its historic competitor Suez, starting with the acquisition of most of the shares (29.9%) held by Engie.
The threat of social plans
"For our 90,000 employees, including 30,000 in France, it is the threat of job losses," said Philippe Varin in an interview with the
Journal du Dimanche
“We cannot announce 500 million synergies and say that there will be no impact.
I've never seen him in my life.
If we look at Alcatel-Lucent, Lafarge-Holcim, GE-Alstom, each time, promises have been made.
Each time, there were social plans afterwards, ”he continues.
Between the two groups, the battle for influence relates particularly to employment, on which the State, Engie's reference shareholder, has warned that it would be vigilant without however opposing the operation.
"I intend to convince the Prime Minister that in substance, this project has flaws.
It involves considerable execution risks, ”suggests Philippe Varin.
Engie expects "an alternative offer" from Suez
“I fully understand that Engie's board of directors wants to translate its stake in Suez into cash.
But to resolve this problem, Engie's decision on Veolia's proposal would determine Suez's future and consist in particular in dismantling the Suez group in France, ”he laments.
Earlier this week, the president of Engie announced that he would carefully study a “new project” from Suez if he managed to quickly present him with “an alternative offer”.
The stock market battle has therefore only just begun.
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